Occupy National Gathering: Anarchists

Occupy National Gathering: Anarchists

A lot has been written about the use of Black Bloc tactics in demonstrations by some Anarchists within the Occupy Movement. Chris Hedges has called the Black Bloc Anarchists, The Cancer in Occupy. Others have supported these tactics within the principle of Diversity of Tactics. Yet others, have stressed the need to adhere to the principle of nonviolence.

Some Occupy General Assemblies have formally adopted the principle of "diversity of tactics", leaving it up to the individual to choose what tactics they might want to use within the movement. Personally, I do not believe that vandalizing stores, breaking windows and picking fights with the police, are tactics. These non-tactics only serve to alienate those who believe in the message of the Occupy Movement. What makes Occupy so frightening to those in power is that it conveys a mainstream message; As more and more people become informed about what is really going on, it has the potential to strip the current structures of power and start anew. There may come a time when we need to invoke our Second Amendment rights and defend ourselves, but that time is not now. What needs to be done now is to figure out how to inform the misinformed and disinformed masses...

On 4th of July, the last day of the Occupy National Gathering, I arrived at Franklin Square late. As I approached an ongoing assembly with my camera, two young anarchists rudely pulled me to the side and told me that I could not shoot without every individual's approval. Anarchists telling someone what they can and can not do? In a public park, full of uniformed and non-uniformed police officers and God knows how many infiltrators? A videographer who had been working with Occupy Philadelphia since the first days, was chased away for recording artwork. A number of other photographers and videographers were harassed and at least one of them walked away in resentment. A group of older activists tried to explain that these were the very rights Occupy was fighting for, to no avail. Although we were told that "certain" anarchists didn't want to be filmed, I later found out that, that particular assembly had requested not to be filmed so that people who felt marginalized could speak out without any pressure. And for that, I apologize for the single frame I took.

There are thousands of intellectuals, journalists, bloggers, photographers and videographers who support the Occupy Movement through their articles, photos and videos. The Occupy Philadelphia videographer who was chased away by anarchists for recording artwork was the person whose videos were instrumental in the acquittal of Occupy Philadelphia protestors earlier this year. Alienating journalists, bloggers, photographers, videographers, and most importantly, everyday people, is not a "tactic" - it is just stupidity. As Chris Hedges pointed out, if you are going to use Black Bloc tactics, then take yourself out of the movement, so that the movement can build.

More Occupy photos.

Song of the Day: Elephant Talk - King Crimson (1981)
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